SWELL stands for Shrivenham and Watchfield Energy Local with Longcot. The SWELL project ran from 2015 – 2017, recruiting 48 participants from three villages near Westmill to test an idea called Energy Local. Energy Local allows a community to share the benefit of local, renewable electricity amongst themselves before any surplus is exported to the grid, keeping more of the benefit within the community. SWELL trial participants also benefitted from a time-of-use tariff, saving money if they shifted some of their electricity use to times with lower electricity demand.
The SWELL tariff. Electricity prices are cheaper at times of lower demand, and can drop as low as 6.5p/kWh in the middle of the day for locally generated solar power.
SWELL was funded by Innovate UK and led by Energy Local. It involved private, academic and community partner organisations and looked at the technology, business and social aspects of making community electricity buying work. WeSET’s role was as Local Coordinator. SWELL took place in the Westmill area in order to make the most of an already engaged community. WeSET recruited our fantastic group of trial participants and looked after them through the project.
WeSET wrapped up the project with a SWELL Celebration Event in Shrivenham Memorial Hall in March 2017, inviting trial participants, stakeholders and energy specialists to join us to hear about the trial results and next steps.
SWELL Celebration Event. Shrivenham, March 2017.
The SWELL trial was the first stage trial of the Energy Local idea and successfully showed that it could work in principal with all participants in the trial gaining a cost-saving benefit from participating. Energy Local has gone on to a further trial in North Wales which is testing it beyond just ‘principal’ and in a real, supply situation.